Trinity Impact Evaluation Unit (TIME) established

Trinity IMpact Evaluation (TIME)  is a research group recently established by the Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin. The unit will bring together economics researchers, development practitioners and policy makers in a collective effort to estimate and understand the impact of development aid and investments.

Building on Trinity’s strong research record in development, TIME aims to provide strong evidence of what development aid and investments works, so that better investments that have real impact on the development process can be made.

The five founding members Prof Fadi Hassan, Prof Michael King, Prof Tara Mitchell, Prof Gaia Narciso and Prof Carol Newman, are undertaking research projects in Uganda, Senegal and Kenya. Current research work includes evaluating the impact of nutritional information campaigns, utilising e-recording technology in savings groups and distributing solar lamps to primary school children.

“By producing research of the highest academic standard TIME will contribute to the global debate on the economic development process and the underlying mechanisms at work,” explained Prof Carol Newman

While the central objective of TIME will be to produce research of the highest academic standard, TIME will also facilitate the dissemination of research more widely and provide training to development practitioners on rigorous methods of impact evaluation.

The establishment of the research group was announced at the Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI) Trin Talks seminar entitled ‘Measuring Impact in Development Projects: The New Industry Standard’. Speakers at the event included Prof Billy Jack of Georgetown University, Connell Foley of Concern Worldwide and Prof Gaia Narciso and Prof Carol Newman of the Department of Economics and the new TIME unit.

For more information on TIME see http://www.tcd.ie/Economics/time/ or  email impactevaluation@tcd.ie

Paper published in European Economic Review

Technology Transfers, Foreign Investment and Productivity Spillovers

Carol Newman, Trinity College Dublin; John Rand, University of Copenhagen; Theodore Talbot, Centre for Global Development; Finn Tarp, UNU-WIDER and University of Copenhagen

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between foreign direct investment (FDI) and the productivity of host country domestic firms. We rely on a specially designed survey of over 4000 manufacturing firms in Vietnam, and separate out productivity gains along the supply chain (obtained through direct transfers of knowledge/technology between linked firms) from productivity effects through indirect FDI spillovers. In addition to identifying indirect vertical productivity spillovers from FDI, our results show that there are productivity gains associated with direct linkages between foreign-owned and domestic firms along the supply chain not captured by commonly used measures of spillovers. This includes evidence of productivity gains through forward linkages for domestic firms which receive inputs from foreign-owned firms.

Newman, C., Rand, J., Talbot, T. and Tarp, F. (2015) “Technology Transfers, Foreign Investment and Productivity Spillovers.” European Economic Review, 76, pp. 168-187.

Full paper available open access here.

UNU-WIDER Interview on Learning to Compete: Lessons from Vietnam

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99qXpEwInyM

In this interview I discuss the success of the Vietnamese economic transformation and lessons which can be drawn for Africa. I emphasise the importance of entrepreneurial culture, and the significance of agglomeration and spatial clustering of firms. The importance of exporting, foreign direct investment, infrastructure and the enabling role of government are also addressed.

Paper published in Agricultural Economics

Kazukauskas, A., Newman, C. and Sauer, J. ‘The Impact of Decoupled Subsidies on Productivity in Agriculture; A Cross-country Analysis using Microdata’ Agricultural Economics, 45(3) (2014) pp. 327-336.

Abstract

The decoupling of direct payments from production introduced in the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy is expected to make production decisions more market-oriented and farmers more productive. However, ex-post analyses of the productivity of farms have yet to uncover any evidence of a positive impact of the decoupling policy on farm productivity. Using Irish, Danish, and Dutch farm-level data, we identify whether the decoupling policy has contributed to productivity growth in agriculture and farm product adjustment behavior. We find some evidence that the decoupling policy had significant positive effects on farm productivity and behavioral changes related to farm specialization.

 

Paper published in Review of Income and Wealth

Newman, C., Tarp, F. and Van den Broeck, K. (2014) ‘Social Capital, Network Effects, and Savings in Rural Vietnam.’ Review of Income and Wealth, 60(1), pp. 79-99.

Abstract

Information failures are a major barrier to formal financial saving in low-income countries. We explore the extent to which social capital in rural Vietnam plays a role in increasing formal savings where knowledge gaps exist. Social capital is defined as information sharing and the elimination of information asymmetries through active participation in the Women’s Union. We consider high- and low-quality networks in terms of the quality of information transmitted. We find that membership of high-quality networks leads to higher levels of saving in formal financial institutions and saving for productive investments. Our results support a role for social capital in facilitating savings and suggest that transmitting financial information through the branches of the Women’s Union could be effective in increasing formal savings at grassroots level. We also conclude that it is important to ensure that the information disseminated is accurate given that behavioral effects are also found in networks with low-quality information.

Grattan Scholarship in Development Economics

Grattan PhD Scholarship

This prestigious scholarship is available for  students entering in 2014/2015. The scholarship runs for four years and covers fees and an annual stipend of €20,000. As part of the scholarship, Grattan  scholars contribute to the department’s teaching programme.

One scholarship will be offered in the field of development economics under the following topic:

A new model for development  aid: the role of the private sector

Supervisor: Professor Carol  Newman

The deadline for the Millennium Development Goals is  drawing near and many countries are reflecting on the nature of development  cooperation with low income countries. The opportunities for mutual benefits to  be gained from trade, investment and technology transfers are high on the  policy agenda. The shift in focus towards market-based initiatives introduces a  new set of challenges that need careful consideration. This project will  investigate issues surrounding this debate including: the constraints to private  sector expansion in low income countries; the relevance and sustainability of  new technologies for development; and the need for policy coherence in trade  and investment.

Two other scholarships are also available. Details are available at: http://www.tcd.ie/Economics/postgraduate/research-degrees/funding-opportunities/grattan.php

Students must first be admitted to the PhD programme. The closing  date for applications for entry to the PhD register and consideration for this  Grattan Scholarship is 31st March 2014.

Paper published in Journal of Agricultural Economics

O’Toole, C., Newman, C. and Hennessy, T., (2014) ‘The Role of Financing Constraints in Agricultural Investment Decisions Since the Irish Financial Crisis.’ Journal of Agricultural Economics, 65(1), pp. 152-176.

Abstract

This paper considers the role of financing constraints in agricultural investment since the recent financial crisis. Using Irish micro data over the period 1997-2010 we estimate the Q model of investment and test for financing constraints using a measure of internal finance dependence. Our econometric method controls for censoring, heterogeneity and endogeneity. We find that financing constraints are binding and the impact of constraints becomes much more acute following the financial crisis. Constraints are found to be well above pre-crisis levels and especially elevated in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The effects are greatest for medium-sized farms and farms in the dairy sector.

Article available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1477-9552.12027/pdf